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LGA warns local investment ‘at risk’ as uncertainty continues

Council leaders have warned investment in local areas is ‘at risk’ as uncertainty over the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) continues.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the government to publish its consultation on its plans for the UKSPF to give councils more certainty.

The UKSPF is due to replace various regeneration funds from the EU after Brexit, but despite being first promised in the 2017 Conservative Party general election manifesto, details remain patchy about how it will work.

The LGA has warned that without EU replacement funding local areas are not able to plan for longer term investment, which could see communities missing out on millions of pounds of additional private investment to support infrastructure projects.

The chairman of the LGA’s Brexit taskforce, Cllr Kevin Bentley, said councils ‘deperately’ need long-term certainty.

‘A fully-funded, locally-driven UKSPF is central to improving people’s lives, supporting local businesses and boosting the national economy,’ he added.

‘Without further clarity, growth and investment in local areas is at risk.

‘Councils want to work with the government to ensure the UKSPF is developed quickly and to ensure that no area is left without investment into their communities and all parts of the country can benefit from the growth they so desperately need.’

In August, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Post-Brexit Funding for Nationals, Regions and Local Areas claimed the government is considering merging the Local Growth Fund with the UKSPF.

And earlier this month, MPs demanded answers about how the scheme would actually work during a debate in parliament.

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock claimed that the government have done ‘absolutely nothing to make progress on the shape of that new fund’.

‘The UK government must not prevent local areas from having appropriate control over the funds,’ said Mr Kinnock.

‘Secondly, this is not just about the money,’ he added. ‘There is a real fear that it will not only be a financial grab but a power grab, and that the Westminster government will use this opportunity to reduce funding for the areas that need it most, and to claw back powers that sit naturally with devolved administrations and other local areas.

Photo Credit – Daniel Diaz Bardillo (Pixabay)

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